The Nashville Predators fan base was promptly lit on fire yesterday evening after this tweet from a well connected NHL media personality out of St. Louis:

At face value, this is not exactly news. David Poile has said in the past that he always considers every option when managing his hockey club. Specifically on Forsberg, Poile said in just the last few weeks the two sides are trying to get a deal done but that it’s also a “business transaction for both sides,” indicating that anything possible is on the table. This could include a trade.

For the record, any time Forsberg has been asked about the contract situation, he has deflected the question, saying it’s for his agent to resolve. As you might expect from a player in midseason.

Then last night, Andy Strickland tweets that Poile is “actively shopping” Filip Forsberg.

It’s important to point out: the word “active” is the key term here. It makes all the difference. It’s one thing for Poile to consider every option as they arrive at his doorstep. Every GM does that. “Hello? Filip Forsberg for Kasperi Kapanen and a 1st round pick? No, I’ll pass, thanks.”

It’s another thing for Poile to be placing calls, sending texts, and knocking on doors to find a suitor for Filip Forsberg. That implies a sense of urgency, or at least an intentional push for Poile to end this thing.

But it’s also important to consider the history here.

Brief history of Preds bailing on contract talks

In the post-Trotz, “Stanley Cup contender” era of the Nashville Predators, there have been many situations like we see now with Filip Forsberg. Situations where an important, skilled, talented, and productive player at the end of a contract needs a new deal and then trade rumors begin.

Here’s a brief history.

In 2015, Mike Fisher was at the end of a two-year contract extension he signed in 2012. At 31 years old, Fisher was still a productive middle-six center. But no contract was signed before the season, leaving questions about whether he would return.

Fisher then signed a two year deal in June 2015, and even signed another deal after that in 2018.

Speaking of 2018, that was the year of Ryan Ellis trade rumor and contract talks. Ryan Ellis, much like Fisher, was “confident that a deal would get done” and said many times that he wanted to sign long term in Nashville. But rumors persisted that “the Preds would listen to offers” and they would consider trading him.

Ryan Ellis then signed an eight year deal in August 2018.

In 2019, the Preds faced an even bigger hurdle: the Roman Josi contract. Trade rumors were not nearly as loud on him. No one really thought Poile would deal away one of the best defensemen in the league. Any “trade Josi” takes were mostly in the context of a massive sell off precipitated by the downward trajectory of the Peter Laviolette era.

As we all know, Roman Josi signed an eight year deal, the largest in franchise history, in October 2019.

But then in 2021, trade rumors began on another Preds’ blueliner, Mattias Ekholm. And these were loud. And constant.

Pierre Lebrun said Poile was in talks to trade Ekholm to the Jets. Elliotte Friedman confirmed that reporting in his column a few days later. Other teams possibly interested included the Flyers (who traded for Ellis that summer), the Bruins and Capitals, and even the Canadiens. The asking price for Ekholm was “pretty steep” according to some, but even so, many were convinced that Ekholm would be traded at the deadline.

Poile didn’t do that. Instead, he signed Ekholm to a four year deal that October.

Oh and then there’s all the Pekka Rinne talk over the last few years. Will he retire, will he play in Finland, will Poile trade him, etc. All of that was obviously over wrought. No one actually thought Pekka Rinne would be traded.

But that’s still four major players over the last seven years that were, at least in some circles, rumored to be on the trading block at the end of a contract negotiation.

And in all four cases, David Poile re-signed them.

Anything can happen, but Filip Forsberg contract still most likely

At this point, given the importance of Filip Forsberg to Nashville, plus everything we know about his contract negotiations, plus the historical context of how David Poile has dealt with expiring stars in the post Ryan Suter era, it still seems the most likely outcome is the Predators sign Filip Forsberg this summer.

Not that it will happen, it’s just the most likely outcome.

By the way, on the subject of well connected hockey media, here’s David Pagnotta on the Andy Strickland tweet:

That suggests the Forsberg camp has not closed negotiations with Nashville. And Poile has said for months now that he wants Forsberg to remain in Nashville. The lines of communication seem to be open.

Oh and here’s another well connected hockey guy, Robby Stanley:

So Filip Forsberg has not given an ultimatum to the Predators. He hasn’t said he wants to be traded or that he wants to test market. The interest in remaining in Nashville seems to be there for Filip Forsberg.

Given all of this, it sure seems like Poile is about to go 5-for-5 on these stars needing new contracts doesn’t it? As I wrote about, he has the money to get it done. Both sides seem on board. History suggests it will get done.

I’m sure this isn’t the first time the Preds’ fan base has been thrown into chaos over one tweet, but it sure is a hell of a time to do it.

Pekka Rinne’s jersey retirement takes place later tonight. The entire NHL community is in town to watch the first ever outdoor game being held at Nissan Stadium this Saturday. This is not exactly the best time for David Poile to be managing a public narrative about his best forward.

But he’s got some practice.

— Featured image via Steve Roberts/USA TODAY Sports —